Denali Highway

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by Final Drive, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. Final Drive

    Final Drive Adventurer

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    As a kid I grew up riding dirt bikes and then street bikes. I was then away from bikes for 20+ years. Four years ago I got back into bikes, first with a couple of KLRs and then a GS 1200. I really want to ride the Denali Highway when I ride to Alaska this summer. I have ridden my GS on gravel roads with no issues. For those of you that have ridden this road before, what if your advice for me? I am assuming that if it isn't pouring rain, i should be OK. What is your thoughts?
    #1
  2. KHuddy

    KHuddy Big Sky Country

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    You should be okay. The road is fairly well maintained and should be a piece of cake for a GS1200. Watch out for the tour buses, Harleys and bicyclists on the road tho..........
    #2
  3. marbee40

    marbee40 Some Fear is Good

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    Get comfotable rallying along while standing on the pegs. Get to a point where you have a firm but relaxed grip on the bars. Squeeze the seat/tank with your knees, shift your weight using the pegs. The Denali is just a shrter version of the TOW, Dempster, and Dalton. You could have miles of smooth followed by a sheer terrifying washout or an RV stalled on a curve. Dont forget Yogi and Bullwinkle making mad dash suicide run.

    Practice full power braking in a variety of conditions using a mix of front/rear. Hammer the throttle to get out of a jam. Exceed your limits on dirt roads at home to get a handle on what your bike (and brain) are capable of. Much better to be confident in those HOLY CRAP moments.

    Try to remember to STOP and take in the sights and LACK of sound. I'm horrible at doing this. I'm usually riding with guys like AKMud or Fast Eddie and we can't help but go fasterfasterfaster. If you cant resist, go fast one direction, then slow down for the return!

    Have fun!
    #3
  4. stickman1432

    stickman1432 Crusty Adventurer

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    Go do it................I have done the Highway twice. Once solo and the last time 2 up with the wife when she flew up and took a 1500 mile trip while I was up north. Both times I had my Jessies on and had Metzler Tourances for tires. No need for knobbies, but I have a shit pile of dirt miles on my GS and I only used TKCs when I was in Copper Canyon and the CDR.

    Enjoy the ride it is great............:wink:
    #4
  5. Final Drive

    Final Drive Adventurer

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    Thanks all. This is great news.
    #5
  6. PistonPants

    PistonPants Crankcase Scavenger

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    All of the above advice is great. If the weather is on your side, plan a camp night out there. You can camp ANYWHERE! Valdez Creek near the big Su can take you miles off the highway. Too bad you're not here now with a snowmobile.

    Peace
    Piston
    #6
  7. FLARider1

    FLARider1 Long timer

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    All above is spot on . I am not that experienced of a rider and had no problems on my GSA. If you don't wanna camp and If your plans work out stay an extra day in Fairbanks at the U of A Fairbanks dorms. Leave all your extra crap in the room and then ride south down to Delta Junction, take the Richardson Highway like you are going to Valdez and jump on the Denali at Paxson heading towards Cantwell. AKTracks, ALCANRIDER, and many others suggest this route......and wow was I glad I listened. I took the entire day, early start to late back to Fairbanks to make the loop. I did stop, as someone else posted, and listened to the silence!!!! Simply amazing day....the terrain and the look of the mountains changes multiple times........ can't say enough about the views.
    #7
  8. slammer218

    slammer218 Slammer

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    Will the denali highway be open in may.. I will be there on the 13 for a ride back to the lower 48 and would to like ride it again.
    #8
  9. fbxrider

    fbxrider Adventurer

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    I spoke to the owners of McClaren Lodge last week and they told me that the "official" opening is May 15. By that it means that DOT has open the road so that a car/truck can drive it. Apparently they don't necessarily grade it down to road surface (such as it is on the DH) so there might be areas of ice. I haven't been on the DH that early so just passing on what I've heard.
    #9
  10. oclv454

    oclv454 Been here awhile

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    Stop in Gracious House for lunch. Last August there was no gas in Paxon. The road is a good gravel road. Heck it's good enough for tour busses!!
    #10
  11. slammer218

    slammer218 Slammer

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    Is that at the paxon end where a gas station once was. When I rode it last year we got gas at cantwell.
    #11
  12. Gezerbike

    Gezerbike Hey Rocky...........

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    Everybody knows this is nowhere......
    I read on this forum a few weeks ago one of the smartest ideas for riding this road.......do it from east to west so you have a shot at seeing Denali ( the mountain ). I spent 11 days up there and never saw the mountain.....and we even few in and landed on it !
    #12
  13. oclv454

    oclv454 Been here awhile

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    Yes, there was a good gas station in Cantwell, right at the junction of the Old Denali Highway. There was another gas station in Cantwell but it was burned up and hadn't reopened yet.....may never reopen. I went West to East both times and both times I filled up in Cantwell. There is gas at a campground about 20 miles west of Paxon. I didn't stop because I figured there would be gas at the junction in Paxon. I made it up to Delta Junction on fumes. I was carrying extra fuel but didn't need to dump any in.
    #13
  14. HayDuchessLives

    HayDuchessLives Loquita

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    KHuddy forgot to mention one other menace to beware of: the Infamous Troll Bridge. If you don't pay whatever fee the Troll may demand of you before crossing the bridge, be prepared to pay the consequences.


    [​IMG]

    In order to protect this rider's questionable reputation, his name will remain anonymous, for now.
    #14
  15. akkurt

    akkurt Rode hard

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    2 hours 1 minute. east to west. Do it at night when there is no traffic. and watch out for the blacktop at the beginning, thats the bumpiest part ;)
    #15
  16. akkurt

    akkurt Rode hard

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    Wasilla "Palenville" Alaska
    #16